Friday, September 19, 2014

Conquering the campus

It's funny how most public schools refer to themselves as a 'campus' these days. Our old two room schoolhouse was just that -- the schoolhouse. The upstairs was the Grange Hall, complete with a stage for variety shows, and the basement held a kitchen with a counter for serving and long tables set end to end. Outside we had a set of swings, teeter-totters and a metal merry-go-round the tallest girl in the school would push for the rest of us.

There was a tiny patch of grass, located between the driveway to our schoolhouse and the main road, we used for a ball field and another grassy area behind the building which seemed to remain wet much of the year. There was a dirt path circling the two story building and we spent many hours, during recesses, just walking round and round while chatting with our friends.

Today, however, things are different. It seems public schools are competing to be the biggest and the best. Oh, you have the massive, sprawling flat roof buildings with their central air and heat, but at least we could open the many windows to let in fresh air. Outside of these modern day gargantuan box schools you see acres and acres of fields, one for each sport. There are several parking lots--one for the students, one for staff, one for visitors and one for the fleet of school buses and other school owned vehicles.

Public schools today refer to themselves as a 'campus', not unlike a college or university. Seems rather self-important, don't you think?

Bigger isn't necessarily better though, not by any stretch of the imagination. Bigger, in this case, means more centralized control and that means control over everything including the money, the children, the parents and the taxpayers, in order to keep these behemoths in power. Public schools today are not unlike the modern prison system.

Sure, public schools look impressive but over the years they've become oppressive hell-holes for the American families who get sucked into their vortex under the threat of fines or jail time if their child is deemed truant. Once a child is forced into such an environment what else is there to do but conquer the campus. Make the most of a bad situation, if you will.

Some parents feel they have no other choice but to give over their child to certified strangers. Maybe some want to toughen their child for what life may throw at them, so they will steel themselves for the process and gut it out. Instead of a child learning how to function successfully within his or her family and the real world, the child must learn to master the artificial and arbitrary world of the public school. He or she must conquer the campus. They will do this by becoming the best at jumping through hoops, telling those in charge of this system what they want to hear, and winning meaningless awards to boost their self-esteem. At the end of this dubious marathon of testing, grading and attendance taking, each child will dress in indistinguishable uniform colors (which prevents them from standing out among the horde) and is handed a small inscribed keepsake not worth the paper it's printed on.

Some children and their parents are happy to reach for the proverbial school carrots, such as prom, theater, sports, concerts, class trips and key clubs, while serving their truancy sentence. If they can conquer the campus, life under this false imprisonment is much more tolerable than the freedom they fear as independent, free-thinking families they have the power to be.

Each fall I witness a plethora of 'back to school' photos online of frightened, bewildered and sad little children whose parents are just as scared of the unknown but are determined to conquer the campus at the expense of their child's sanity. Yes, sometimes you see the heartless, self-centered parent singing and dancing as the long yellow bus drives away with their precious cargo, but those selfish parents have no interest in conquering anything. The only freedom they concern themselves with is their own. Those 'back to school' photos should all be captioned 'conquering the campus' photos because in them are little warriors being sent off to do battle against the freedom takers we call administrators, legislators and unionized school teachers.

Although we still pay taxes that support these mega-schools and the pensions of those who run them, some of us feel it is a small ransom for the success and well-being of our children. While millions of other parents and their children continue to conquer the campus, we homeschoolers are out there conquering the real world or, at the very least, giving it our best shot. We don't fear the freedom we've discovered, we embrace it. That freedom leads to success and peace of mind.

It's time to stop trying to conquer the campus and start tackling your fears. Fight the battle you were meant to fight--the safe keeping of your family. Liberate yourself, your family and your home, then work to vanquish those who wish to conquer you and your child!


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